Car accidents are the leading cause of death for those ages 3 to 34, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
If our Charlotte car accident lawyers could encourage you to do one thing in 2012, it would be to avoid distraction and drive. Put down the cell phone. Don’t text message. Leave the radio and GPS devices alone. And focus on the road ahead. Distracted driving has become an epidemic in this country.
In 2009, the number of motorists killed in accidents blamed on drive distraction topped 5,000. In 2010, that number was 3,092. The drop has nothing to do with a decrease in risk and everything to do with the challenge of reporting something as subjective as driver distraction across all 50 states. What we know is cell phones, and particularly the advent of smartphones, have increased the risk exponentially. And car manufacturers continue to add GPS navigation and other onboard electronics, which further serve to exacerbate the risk.
“Even as we celebrate the incredible gains we’re making in reducing traffic fatalities, we recognize our responsibility to improve our understanding of the dangers that continue to threaten drivers and passengers,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland.
“Incredible gains” is a relative term. Somewhere in the United States, someone dies in a car accident every 15 minutes. There is much work to be done.
And the effort must start with you.
Some Charlotte traffic accidents are unavoidable. But far too many could be avoided if drivers paid attention to the road, avoided speeding, aggressive driving and other dangerous driving habits, and refused to get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol.
Beyond the 3-34 age group, for which traffic accidents are the leading cause of death, the fault of motor vehicle accidents is no less sobering:
-Under 3: Third-leading cause of death behind birth defects and drowning.
-Ages 35 to 44: Fifth-leading cause of death behind cancer, heart disease, poisoning and suicide.
-45 to 64: Eighth-leading cause of death, behind cancer, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, respiratory disease, liver disease and suicide.
When it comes to distraction, no age group is more at risk than teen drivers. A generation that has grown up with text messaging and Facebook seemingly cannot stand to be out of contact for even a moment. Combine this with the fact that this age group is the least experienced, even as it is the most prone to overestimating driving abilities, and the end result is a sure recipe for disaster.
Talk to your teens about the dangers of distractions behind the wheel. And that includes riding with too many passengers in the vehicle. Talk to them tonight. Talk to them tomorrow. And talk to them often throughout their high school and college years. Many of the driving habits we learn when we are young stay with us into adulthood. Help your child by establishing what is and what is not acceptable behavior behind the wheel.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices today for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 800-887-1965.
Resolve to Reduce your Risk of a Carolina Car Accident in 2012, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, Jan. 4, 2012.